Thursday, November 01, 2012

Where would Jesus teach?

The grades are out for the schools of Indiana according to the new metrics put in place by Tony Bennett, the current State School Superintendent.  He is proclaiming victory with the 60% of schools in Indiana who received As and Bs by the new standards.  Of course, only two of the seven Marion Community Schools squeaked by with a passing C. The rest are Ds or Fs.

In fact, if you download and glance through the 2012 School Grade Results, you'll see that a preponderance of the schools that have significant poverty and diversity, especially in urban areas, did very poorly. There are many issues swirling here and I'm only on the edge of them, but they have all come up in the debates between Bennett and Ritz. 

One question is of course whether the standards themselves are appropriate.  Another is whether the amount of paperwork and data collection in relation to the standards has become oppressive.  The current approach largely blames teachers for the grades.  The logic is, "Our schools are failing because our teachers don't do a good job," as opposed to the counterclaim that, "There are significant underlying social issues that bias students in certain areas for failure."  

Whatever the truth might be in relation to the details, I know what Jesus is most concerned about, given his focus on earth.  He did not come for the healthy but for the sick.  If Jesus were here, where would he teach?  He would be focusing on the lives of those to whom life has handed a recipe for failure. 


Caleb Landis said...

You may or may not know that my mother has been a public school teacher for 40 years. These past few have become so bogged down with standards and fluff that she can no longer teach and it has led her to retirement. She used to love teaching but no longer. While I can explain my educational philosophy from an economic point of view, which would clearly show a deregulation, that really isn't the point here. There are many different factors to why schools fail these standards but the most important reason is the standards themselves. America is a land in a post-industrial economy essentially the one and only such country in the world. Education is so important to such a society and yet our education quality has decreased significantly in the past 10 years? Quality is only and indication on the teachers when the scrutiny remains the same. The scrutiny has clearly not remained the same so the problem must lie elsewhere.

To answer your question Jesus would teach the teachers and send them to where they are most needed. Sound familiar? :)

Ken Schenck said...

I just found out that several Marion schools completely flipped--from As to Fs and from Fs to As. That bespeaks a complete philosophical change on the part of Bennett's standards. I do wonder how many public school teachers will actually vote for him. Maybe rural teachers would but my guess is that his percentage among city teachers will be abysmal. I think he will be elected by a landslide, though, since he's the only one with money to run commercials--including significant donations from out of state privatizers.

::athada:: said...

From my anecdotal experience even life-long Republican, non-union teachers I know are voting against him. The bi-partisan consensus appears that the situation is ridiculous.

Ken Schenck said...

I am shocked but overwhelmingly pleased to hear that Tony Bennett was defeated--and this after massive financial support from out of state privatizers. Like I said, I was curious to see if hardly any teachers in Indiana would actually vote for him. The answer is--apparently not, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat.